While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Maryland driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Maryland driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a Maryland driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Maryland operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 8 to11 points within two years, your license will be suspended. The Motor Vehicle Administration will send you a notice informing you of this. If you accumulate 12 or more points within a two year driving period, your license will be revoked
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Maryland driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated, (DWI), 12 points are added to your license and your license is automatically revoked. If charged with DUI, 8 points are added to your license. If you refuse to take the test and are later cleared of the charges, you can still face a suspension from 120 days to a year. If your license was revoked due to DUI, you will have to attend an Alcohol Education Program before you can reapply for a new license.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Maryland must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Maryland driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. Other reasons include stealing a motor vehicle or any part of a motor vehicle, stealing gas, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident without giving aid or your identity, being convicted of reckless driving three times in one year, unlawful use of either your driver's license or another's to buy liquor, fleeing from the police, using a motor vehicle to commit a crime and homicide involving a motor vehicle.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle Administration can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Motor Vehicle Administration notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR MARYLAND DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Maryland driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
The three most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. You can surrender your license in person at a MVA Office, or mail it to:
MVA Headquarters 6601 Ritchie Highway, N.E Glen Burnie, MD 21062
- While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
- After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the Maryland MVA.
- You may be eligible for a restricted(hardship) license, where the MVA might allow you to drive with restrictions on your license.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a notice of suspension from the MVA, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. If the suspension is due to points, you will have 15 days in which you can schedule a hearing. An administrative law judge or the MVA Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program may remove points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
If you had your license revoked because you accumulated 12 or more points on your license or because of DUI, you may be eligible to have your license reinstated after a particular period of time. The time period depends on the number of times you have had your license revoked.
- One revocation - six month waiting period
- Two revocations - twelve month waiting period
- Three revocations- eighteen month waiting period
- Four or more- twenty four month waiting period.
If you feel you have met the requirements to have your license reinstated you will have to:
- Contact the MVA's Driver Wellness and Safety Division. If the Division feels that you are eligible, a form will be mailed to you, else a letter explaining otherwise will be sent.
- Return it to the division with the appropriate here Once the application has been received, a decision will be taken to either deny or grant the license. A letter will be sent to you notifying you of the same.
- If the answer is in the affirmative, you will need to take the letter to any MVA branch office and apply for a new license.
If you have been denied the license you can appeal the decision. You will have to contact the MVA's Driver Wellness and Safety Division about the procedure for this.
Note that after your license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Maryland driver's license. In addition, if you lost your license due to DUI, it might be reinstated with an alcohol restriction and might be valid for up to 3 years. You will need to contact the MVA Administrative Adjudication Division to ask for it to be removed.